Matt's Salsa Fresca

By: Matt Armendariz

My earliest food memories involve salsa in every form. Hot, not-so-hot, chunky, cooked, raw, you name it – if it could be made, we ate it. This version, usually called pico de gallo or salsa fresca, is a raw salsa made from ripe tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeños, lots of freshly chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice and a dash of salt.

It is a versatile condiment, one I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten on just about every food imaginable during my lifetime. Nothing is as good as scooping a freshly fried and salted corn chip into pico de gallo, but this salsa isn’t just for snacking. I kick up the garlic and use it over grilled fish, sprinkle it over kebabs and tuck it inside tacos made with sizzling fajitas. It’s also a fantastic filling for the hollowed-out half of an avocado.

But why stop there? You could easily put this salsa in a blender for a smooth consistency or even into a skillet with a bit of oil; this makes the perfect base for huevos rancheros and it’s excellent when cooked and served over pork chops.

You needn’t be a stickler over proportions with this recipe, taste along the way and adjust to your liking. And while I love cilantro, some people just can’t stand the stuff. That’s fine, omit it completely or add chopped parsley, green onions, whatever you like. Just make sure to have those chips handy!

Basic Salsa Fresca
2 cups chopped and seeded tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 to 1 white onion, chopped (amount depends on your personal preference)

1-2 jalapeños, finely chopped, seeds are just fine!
A pinch of sea salt to taste
A tiny pinch of cumin, optional
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, loosely packed
  • Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. If not enjoying immediately, cover and refrigerate. Giving the salsa an hour or two to develop its flavors always helps!
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